Capstone Project


Capstone - Roadmap to a Sustainable, Prosperous Future

This is where you are given the freedom to put it all together and craft a roadmap for a sustainable, prosperous future. We’ll pretend you have been granted the authority to completely control global carbon emissions and your job is to put together an emissions scenario for the next 200 years that accomplishes 4 things:

  1. Keeps the global temperature change below 2.0°C (relative to pre-industrial, so about 1°C above the present temperature).
  2. Meets the energy demands of the world’s population.
  3. Leaves us in the year 2200 with at least another 100 years worth of fossil fuel carbon.
  4. Minimizes the per capita costs (combination of climate damages and costs related to shifting to other forms of energy). We’ll assume that the plan that costs the least will leave more money for economic growth and prosperity.

Follow the directions in Steps 1-6 and then cycle through these steps until you find your ideal scenario, then proceed to Step 7 and complete the project by making a poster. The poster will illustrate and explain your plan using a combination of graphs and text — it is the kind of thing that you’d expect a classmate to be able to understand in 10 minutes of study. There is an example of what this might look like in Step 7.

Submitting your Assessment

Submit your assignment in the Capstone Dropbox in Canvas. You can save as a PDF file (this can be done from Powerpoint), a regular PowerPoint file, or as a Google Slides file.

Grading and Rubric

Description Possible Points
Clarity of graphs and captions for graphs. The captions should explain what is plotted and what the units are. Recall that the goals of this course include developing the ability to interpret plots of data and to explain and understand the different units represented by the data — so you should keep this in mind while writing the captions. 10 points

Clarity of explanatory text. The graphs should be linked together with some explanatory text that explains how things are calculated, what assumptions you’ve used, and why they are reasonable assumptions. There should also be at least one short paragraph that sums it all up, explaining why this is the best roadmap.

This explanatory text is the way that you will demonstrate a range of abilities that align with the goals and objectives of this course, including: the ability to explain scientific concepts in language that a non-scientist can understand; your systems-thinking knowledge, talking about feedbacks and interconnections between different parts of the system — how climate, energy, and economics are intertwined. We expect you to also convey your knowledge of the policy options that would be needed to make your roadmap a reality.

20 points
Overall layout. There should be a clear flow of logic in the way the poster is laid out. Following the steps laid out in the process will help with this. 10 points
Bonus There is a bonus for the roadmap that comes in with the lowest per capita total costs, using assumptions that are clearly justified. 10 points